- In September, Yosvani Anzardo Hernández, editor of the digital magazine Candonga and a correspondent for a Miami-based news website, was arrested by police officers at his home in Holguín Province. At the time of his arrest, the computer server hosting his digital magazine was confiscated. He was held at Pedernales Prison in Holguín Province during which time he was threatened with criminal prosecution under Law No. 88 on the Protection of National Independence and the Economy of Cuba. He was released without charge after two weeks
Freedom of movement
Restrictions on freedom of movement prevented journalists and human rights and political activists from carrying out legitimate and peaceful activities.
- In September, Yoani Sánchez, author of the popular blog Generación Y, was denied an exit visa by the Cuban authorities. She had been due to travel to the USA to receive the Maria Moors Cabot prize for journalism at Columbia University. She was also denied an exit visa to travel to Brazil following an invitation from the Brazilian Senate to present her book at a conference and address the legislature. In November, Yoani Sánchez and blogger Orlando Luis Pardo were forced into a car by state security agents and beaten and threatened before being released. The attackers told Yoani Sánchez "this is the end of it”.
The US embargo against Cuba
The US embargo against Cuba continued to have a detrimental impact on the economic and social rights of Cubans. US legislation restricting exports of US manufactured or patented supplies and equipment to Cuba continued to hinder access to medicine and medical technologies. UN agencies operating in Cuba were also affected by the embargo.
In April, US President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions, allowing individuals to visit relatives in Cuba and send them remittances. However, in September, he extended for another year his authority to apply financial sanctions against Cuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917. For the 18th consecutive year, a resolution calling on the USA to end its embargo against Cuba was adopted by an overwhelming majority at the UN General Assembly. A bipartisan group of US senators introduced a bill that would allow all US citizens to travel freely to Cuba for the first time since 1962. Other bills were introduced to Congress aimed at easing or totally lifting the embargo. At the end of the year, these bills remained pending.
There were no executions. Three people remained on death row at the end of 2009; most death sentences had been commuted by President Raúl Castro in 2008.
- Otto René Rodríguez Llerena and Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, both Salvadoran nationals, remained under sentence of death. They had been convicted of terrorism charges in 1999. Their appeals against the sentences were pending before the People's Supreme Court at the end of the year.
Amnesty International visits/reports
Amnesty International has not been allowed to visit Cuba since 1990.Cuba: Fear for safety – Jorge Luis García Pérez; Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera; Carlos Michael Morales Rodriguez; Diosiris Santana Pérez; Ernesto Mederos Arrozarena(30 March 2009)
Cuba: Harassment – Edgard López Moreno (30 April 2009)
The US embargo against Cuba – Its impact on economic and social rights (2 September 2009)